Nicki LaFoille

How to Slipstitch—Ladder Stitch

Nicki LaFoille
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Duration:   4  mins

The slip stitch, also known as the ladder stitch, is a basic hand-sewing stitch to know. Even if you do most of your sewing using a sewing machine, it is useful to know this basic stitch. It is often used to close openings in sewing projects; usually—after the project has been turned right-side out—to hide the seam allowances inside.

The slip stitch joins two folded edges of fabric together while hiding the thread, so the result is a fairly invisible stitch.

Using one strand of thread, thread your hand-sewing needle and knot one end. Nicki demonstrates how to hide the knot underneath the seam allowances at one end of the opening. Then, stitch back and forth across the opening, taking small, even stitches through the seam allowances’ folds.

When the opening is closed, knot the thread end, clip the thread, then tuck the thread end inside the stitched seam. Alternatively, after knotting the thread end, thread your needle through another point in the project, pull the thread to the outside, then clip, so the thread end is hidden inside the project.

Using thread that matches the fabric will help the stitch be even more invisible. This stitch can also be used to repair ready-made items whose seams have come undone, such as stuffed animals, throw pillows, and more.

For more hand-sewing tips and tricks, learn how to easily thread a needle and prevent thread tangles and a great tip for spacing stitches.

If you are interested in learning more hand-sewing stitches for construction and hemming, check out these videos: Running and Backstitch, and Hem Using the Slipstitch and Blind Hem Stitch.

This video teaches a technique to avoid having a knot on the wrong side of the fabric altogether.

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2 Responses to “How to Slipstitch—Ladder Stitch”

  1. Sarah Turney

    Clearest video I’ve ever seen. Thank you!!!

  2. Vera

    My magnifying glasses are not strong enough to see the stitching method all that clearly -

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